Lesson Plan Three

Name – Sarah Kirschman                                                              Subject – Arts Education/Treaty Education [Music]

Lesson Length – 25 minutes                                                        Grade – 5/6

Content – Drum Circles

Teaching Strategy – student involvement, demonstration, group work, copy and follow

OutcomeSI6²:  Analyze the importance of the preservation and promotion of First Nations and Métis musical languages.

Indicators – Describe how the loss of musical language impacts cultural identity (e.g., importance of ceremony, song, dance).

Prerequisite Learning – Students have learned the basics of sound collage in a previous lesson. They have learned tempo and rhythm, as well as what makes an effective rhythm.

Lesson Preparation:

Materials – drums

SWBAT – Create their own drums circle by being both a leader and a follower. Students will learn the importance of drum circles in First Nations culture.


Set – Get the students to sit in a circle each with a drum. We will go over the key points that we learned while we were doing sound collages, specifically the definition of tempo and rhythm. Then, we will talk about what makes a good rhythm (simple, repetitive, not too fast, sticks to the tempo).

Development –

  • Talk with the students about the drum circles that an individual I know went to.
  • Discuss how the drum beat is like the heart of a song; it keeps the pace steady and the song moving.
  • Tie the lessons on step dancing with dance in Native American culture. How step dance is used to remember the miners during Apartheid and how the Native Americans have all different types of dances that they do and each tells a specific type of story, or shares a specific religious belief.
  • An example of a traditional dance is the Cree Chicken Dance (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSQmi4cHQd8). Tell the students that it is different from the one that we know.
  • The dance mimics the movements of the Prairie Chicken and it is held around two separate fires. The sponsor of the ceremony was usually told to hold the dance in a dream, or he vowed to do the dance in exchange for something, like the life of a sick child.
  • The dance took place over many nights. Now, the dance is used to remember the significance of the dance. The dance is either accompanied by a rattle or a lively drum beat.
  • In order for a dance to go well, the drum beat of the song must stay steady. The drummers must be in sync.
  • A game that they play at Pow Wows and Round Dances involving the drummers uses the drummer’s ability to follow a leader.
  • Tell the students about the individual I know and his experiences with drum games.
  • The students will be put into pairs, and there will be one follower and one leader. The leader will try different rhythms and beats, speeding up and slowing down the tempo, and the follower must try and “keep up” with the changes.
  • Do an example.
  • Reiterate that it is easier if you only change one piece of the rhythm at a time (i.e., change the tempo a few times, before slowing it down and then altering the rhythm).
  • Students will have about three minutes each to be the follower.


Conclusion – As a whole group, we will start with me as the leader and all the students following. Depending on skill and how quickly the students adapt, I will assign different leaders. After, we will go over the significance of the drums (the heartbeat of the dance) and what dance we talked about (Chicken Dance) and what significance the dance holds to the Cree people (the dance is ordered through a dream or is vowed by sponsor in order to gain something, such as good health).

Adaptive Dimension

  • Students are able to pick their own rhythms
  • Work in small groups as well as a whole class




Professional Development Plan

Topic: Drum Circles

Name: Sarah Kirschman

Professional Target:  Classroom Management

Steps to Achieve Target: Making sure the students are taking the lesson seriously and if they decide to be silly, I will bring the focus back.

Instructions to Observer: Watching when the students are silly if I get the students back on track in a timely matter. This is not to say that the students should not be enjoying the lesson or having fun, simply that I don’t allow the students to make fun of any aspect of the lesson, or make the answers to questions into a joke.



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